An Inspirational CA story from being a VP of Snapdeal to a Founder of GSTSTREET. In this article CA Rishabh Kumar shares his corporate experience from Indian Oil Corporation to Schlumberger to Oracle to Coca-Cola to Snapdeal and finally his entrepreneurial experience as a founder of GSTSTREET & Cloud car.
My CA Journey:
“Late Evenings of chilling winters in Bikaner, Rajasthan are famous for people relishing Desi food or enjoy watching TV by wrapping themselves in ‘Jaipuri’ quilts. But my friend Amit Mundhra and me were busy noting down 51 Great Businesses of the future in early 1998 just after enrolling for CA Foundation Course (Now it is known as CPT),” says CA Rishabh Kumar Sawansukha.
“Both of us wanted to study in Shri Ram School of Commerce, Delhi but missed the bus with just half a percent! That’s when we opted for Chartered Accountancy (CA) and registered for articleship. We both belonged to business families and wanted to try our destiny in the corporate jungle.
One day while browsing endlessly in Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji Public library, we read about American and Japanese History, Industry revolution and our tiny minds met together to write what will make India succeed with the Internet, Commerce, Coffee, Shared Economy, Shared Transport, Software boom, and Social Commerce. Yes, 18 years ago, we wrote in our diary about coffee chains when Starbucks were not born, cybersecurity as a business was not popular etc.
Life after becoming a CA:
Fast forwarding after qualifying as Chartered Accountants (CA), I wanted to start a professional advisory or management consulting firm and Amit wanted to join a big corporate job. Both started the same way but after 3 months, destiny reversed and I got a full-time job with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. through campus placement and Amit joined Apollo Tyres. He soon realized his passion for practice and settled himself in “Pink City” Jaipur, Rajasthan with an established CA firm. I moved city after city for career growth but Amit chose to remain in one city & one firm to grow vertically deep and lead a settled life with family and friends.
I worked in Oil & Gas for 9 years, to understand how energy industry works in upstream, midstream and downstream and made global friends with people from the ‘non-finance’ background.
I believed that it is important to learn business practice first before applying tax formula as an advisor. I started participating in lengthy and boring pre-bid meetings and flipping through bulky tender documents from an early age while all other friends were busy in evening parties.
Daydreaming did not stop there, so I moved to Oracle and managed to survive for 3 years in a challenging role with 25 small and big acquisition by Oracle,most brutal integration was Sun Microsystem where I managed some of the emotionally demanding assignment with lots of head-less files and going through the maze of endless investigations on the acquiring company.
IT / ITes world gave me the first- hand flavor of silicon valley and my futurist mind started thinking more about cloud sensor, machine learning, robotics which was a strict no-no for conventional Chartered Accountants. Sometimes I got warned by my colleagues and peers for mingling too much with IT Engineers and thinking of “Tax Automation” instead of being protective to the profession.
My next move was into FMCG sector to gain experience of handling a team of 55 people spread over 25 factories. ‘Coke is in my blood’ was the famous jumla I heard many times from the old veterans in the world’s biggest beverage company. My curious mind started de-coding what made coke so successful – Success of coke is to connect with customer of every age and make them feel on the top of happiness since 150 years and I read many books like – Inside Coca-Cola – A CEOs Life written by ex-coke employees and interacted with people serving the company for 3 decades.
I understood the power of Branding, Communication, feet on the street simplicity of how a brand play ‘Glocal’ meaning – Think Global – Act Local and most important lesson was to handle ‘Millennials’.
Entrepreneurship bug was strong within me and in 2014 I formed a company (while still working in Snapdeal) with my technology friend to solve the big problem of cyber city Gurgaon and CloudaCar was born. It was later recognized in 2016 by CII-Deloitte as fastest growing ridesharing start-up and in 2017 got an award of Global Super brand startup upon integration with UBER. Angel funding exhausted and team evaporated, the idea was ahead of time so besides meeting 15 top investors, Cloud car could not meet its capitalization needs and the product got ready but 100+ leads got into hibernate mode due to a cash crunch. I felt very sorry for this garage venture or weekend venture and left my cushy job of Vice President in Snapdeal to start GSTStreet – Feet on the Street again.
As a shared economy enthusiast, I always tried to convince people that – The Best can’t be hired, but can always be shared. My expert knowledge of Tax, Energy, FMCG , IT/ITes and E-Commerce helped me in building a network of 400+ experts and association with 42 Industry forums in 2 years. However, this took a toll on my personal & family life. I was eating, sleeping and talking GST, it made me a walking GST man and people started believing that Rishabh is super-positive about GST and does not want to hear anything against it. Yes, it is true because Indirect Tax Automation and reforms are happening globally and India being the largest country to launch biggest Indirect tax reform on July 1, we will see many other countries reforming themselves.
Now GSTStreet has set-up its operations in the middle east where UAE and Saudi Arabia is implementing VAT and extending the power of a network and shared economy to Arabic speaking region. With a strong entrepreneurship urge, I found a team of like-minded senior tax professionals who are ready to take a plunge with me. VATStreet has been formed as Tax Consultancy with “Taxnomics” wherein we have founder partner Mr. Clarence Ellis with 40 years of global tax experience. His blessings to the shared economy ecosystem for Tax Consulting & Knowledge Sharing will be a big motivation for our partner ecosystem to excel in this new territory.
Now, both Amit and I have joined hands to work together. We realized that few things are yet doable from the 51 business ideas we penciled in the winters of 1998. We are setting up a large shared service center ( KPO) for Compliance services by senior-level experts in Jaipur and will expand it to other cities like Gurgaon, Ahmedabad etc.
My advice to others is:
1. CA & Professionals should learn Networking and Collaboration to speed up their success.
2. One and only rule in collaboration is to Trust your Partner and Document it in a legal way with exit and penalty for defaults.
3. An Idea without execution is nothing but crap, so balance your time and energy in ideation and execution,” he concluded.